New Chief Executive for £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre

Midday 11 August 2015: The UK’s low carbon propulsion industry has taken another major step forward today with the announcement of the new CEO for the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Ian Constance will take up the position of Chief Executive in September 2015 for the £1 billion programme which helps turn low carbon propulsion concepts into products developed and produced in the UK.

Chairman of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, Dr. Gerhard Schmidt welcomed Ian to the role:

‘I am delighted to appoint Ian Constance as Chief Executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre. He brings a wealth of global experience from 25 years in the automotive industry which will enable him to help organisations with the development of low carbon propulsion technology in the UK.’

‘Ian will take over the leadership of the APC from Tony Pixton, who has completed his assignment to deliver a successful fast start-up for the organisation. On behalf of the APC Board and our Stakeholders I would like to thank him for his leadership, and to welcome his continued service as a member of the APC Board, ensuring continuity and access to his experience as we continue the important work of delivering opportunities and growth for the UK automotive sector’.

Minister for Business Innovation and Skills, Anna Soubry said:

‘I am very proud of our automotive sector and the government will continue to work with industry to ensure its star shines brightly. Ian Constance brings global expertise and knowledge to the APC as it seeks to accelerate the development and production of new green technologies which can secure future jobs in the industry’.   

Ian Constance, 46, joins the APC from Ford Motor Company in Detroit where he was most recently Global Chief Engineer for Large Cars. Following an engineering degree at Aston University and MSc at Loughborough University, Ian has worked with Ford in the UK, Germany, Thailand, China and the USA in various leadership roles with a strong focus on new product development and launch.

Ian Constance, new Chief Executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre said:

‘It is a great privilege to join the Advanced Propulsion Centre and lead the future development of this remarkable collaboration between government and industry, which is driving investment and innovation in the UK. I look forward to working with the wide range of APC partner organisations, academic institutions, SMEs, suppliers and manufacturers to focus our national resources as we create the Propulsion Nation, delivering growth in the automotive industry’.      

Commenting on the appointment, GKN Chief Executive Nigel Stein, Industry Chair of the Automotive Council said:

‘The APC was created by the Automotive Council to be a game changing addition to the innovation system in the UK and it has made remarkable progress under the guidance of Tony Pixton during the start-up phase. The industry welcomes the news that Ian Constance will take over the leadership as the APC continues on its journey to position the UK as a global centre of excellence in low carbon propulsion technology’.

In the last 16 months, the APC has invested in ten projects worth more than £174 million, involving 54 organisations which will create or secure at least 4,500 jobs in the UK. The technology will reduce emissions of CO2 by more than 12 million tonnes, driving growth for the UK’s automotive manufacturing sector in bus, commercial vehicle, engine, off highway, passenger car and van applications.


The Advanced Propulsion Centre –

The Advanced Propulsion Centre was formed in 2013 from a commitment between the government and automotive industry through the Automotive Council to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production. It is a central pillar of the Industrial Strategy created by the Automotive Council.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Limited (APC) is a private limited company, an industry wide collaboration of innovators and producers of low carbon propulsion systems. It facilitates partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who can bring them to market. The services provided by the APC enable projects which provide profitable growth and sustainable opportunities for the partners involved. Each programme enhances the UK’s position as a Propulsion Nation and contributes to the country’s economic prosperity.

The government and industry have each committed to provide £500 million to the APC during its 10 year programme. The activity in this £1 billion project will be delivered through a small team working across the UK from a central Hub located at the University of Warwick and three Spokes in Digital Engineering and Test (Loughborough University in London), Power Electronics (University of Nottingham) and Electrical Energy Storage (University of Warwick).

The first three rounds of investments by the APC in 2014 and 2015 covered ten project consortia:

  • Ford and their partners will receive a £13.1 million grant for their £26 million programme to upgrade the award winning EcoBoost engine. This will accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technologies to deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
  • GKN Land Systems and their partners will receive a £7.5 million grant as part of an £18 million project to apply motorsport energy recovery technology for use in buses. The Gyrodrive system is designed to save the braking energy of a bus as it slows to stop and use it to accelerate the bus back up to speed. By avoiding wasting the energy every time a bus stops the system is projected to deliver fuel savings in the order of 25%.
  • Cummins and their partners will receive a £4.9 million grant for a £9.9 million project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 10 to 18%.
  • JCB and their partner Flybrid will receive a £3.3 million grant as part of a £7.2 million project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions resulting in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for construction projects using this machinery. On average, the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.
  • Jaguar Land Rover and their partners will receive £17 million for two new projects totalling £32 million to research manufacturing technology for electric motors and develop cleaner internal combustion engines.
  • A new generation of electric and hybrid buses to be developed by Wrightbus and its partners in Northern Ireland who will receive a grant of £4.3 million in an £8.6 million programme.
  • £6.3 million grant for a hydrogen fuel cell range extender for electric light commercial vehicle fleets in a joint £12.7 million project led by Intelligent Energy.
  • A high efficiency transmission and electric drive by hofer powertrain UK who receive £16.1 million in a £32.8 million programme.
  • £14 million to develop innovative technologies for UK built diesel engines for off-highway use and exported worldwide by Perkins Engines Company Limited in a £28.6 million project with its partners.

The Fourth APC Funding Competition (APC4).

The competition for the fourth round of investments by the APC closed on 1 July 2015 and applications are now being processed. The winners will be announced in autumn 2015.  In November 2015, the fifth funding competition (APC5) will be launched inviting applications from consortia with low carbon propulsion technology projects between £5m and £40 million for technology that is at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 and Manufacturing Readiness Level (MRL) 4. Companies can register their interest at the APC website

© 2022 © 2021 The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Ltd. All rights reserved.

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